God and ASDA

Stories and thoughts: past, present and future


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Tomorrow

Yes, I know I said my previous blog was to be the final one – I know! But, when you are given a new subject to write about, you just have to go with it. So, just for this one time (?) I’ve resurrected it. (Another idea has just popped into my head!)

When I was young I could never get my head around “tomorrow”. Mum or Dad would tell us we had, say, six more tomorrows then we’d be going on holiday. Or, whilst anxiously awaiting Christmas Eve, Dad would say it’s only another week – just seven tomorrows. I thought that there were seven days in a week, not seven tomorrows.

To confuse me even more, when “tomorrow” arrived it became “today”. So what happened to the today gone by? Well, of course, it became yesterday! All very baffling for a young, active mind to take in.

My Gran used to tell us that “Today is the tomorrow you were worried about yesterday.” Now that’s confusing, too.

And there’s an old saying: “Never put off ‘til tomorrow what you can do today.” Ah, I understood that – I think.

Putting off until tomorrow does nothing to ease a problem; if a problem it is. Whatever we “put off” will still be there two, three, four days later. Putting it off only exacerbates the worry.

The Bible tells us not to put things off until tomorrow:

(James 4 verses 13-14 N.I.V.)

(13) Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— (14) yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

We don’t know what will happen tomorrow – only God knows . However, one thing’s for certain, when Jesus comes back, as He will, to judge the living and the dead, will you be among those who wish they’d listened when someone told them the truth?

Being a Christian is not wearing leather gloves on Sunday and being holier than thou. It’s about knowing the Person of Jesus, having a real relationship with Him and, as a result, having the knowledge that one day we will all be together in Heaven with our Heavenly Father – for ever and ever.

There is only one way to get to Heaven, whatever you may think to the contrary:

The following verses are from John 14 verses 2- 6:

2. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
5. Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
6. Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Don’t put it off any longer. Find a church, go to a service and be amazed.

God Bless.

    http://www.pinterest.com/pin/269934571385416592/
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Then or Now?

I’ve often written what it was like when I was a child in the 1940s, growing up in post-war Britain, and a thought came to me this morning – was it really “the good old days”? Did we really have the fun we seem to remember whilst at school or playing our innocent games.

Innocence it certainly was, and for that I’m grateful that I grew up in those times. We didn’t have any of the pressures youngsters have these days, either in society in general or amongst our own peers. We really were innocent. I think that’s a point for the “Then” team!

Our teachers were respected for the most part, certainly in the early years of our education. We looked up to them, in more ways than height. We respected their seniority. Nowadays young people do not hesitate to call me by my given name, even though I am over half a century older than many of them. But would I like it if they addressed me as “Mrs.”: I think not – so that’s a point in favour of “Now”.

Getting away from relationships, we have the question of technology. When I first started work in 1958, I was using an Imperial typewriter, just like the one in the picture.

As you will see it was quite a hefty machine. The carriage moved across with each stroke of the keys, propelled by a ratchet, until, at the end of the line the typist would have to return it manually – and off we’d go again! The ink was contained in the ribbons seen on the left and right and as the key struck the ribbon, it would impress the letter onto the paper. These machines are very nice to have as ornaments or conversation pieces in our homes these days, but they were the latest in technology to us.

Today technology moves so fast that it’s almost impossible to keep up – iPhones, iPads, Tablets, Kindle and so on. In my younger days an eye-pad was something you put on a sore eye, a tablet was medication you’d take, (probably for the sore eye) and a kindle was a piece of wood that helped ignite the fire (causing a spark to fly into the eye, requiring an eye-pad and a tablet no doubt). But I have to give the point to “Now” on technology.

We all moan at the length of the queues in the supermarkets and, when I hear someone grumbling about having to wait in line for a few minutes, I would love to take them back to my childhood days and see what they make of it. No Asda or Sainsbury’s then. Each commodity had its own shop and, sometimes, inside the grocer’s was a collection of counters where purchases made at each one had to be paid for there, not at a final checkout. Afterwards it all had to be carried home, probably on a ’bus, No, thank you, I certainly approve of supermarkets and give a great big tick in favour of “Now”!!

I could include many more examples of the difference between Then and Now and, looking back over this article, I see that I’ve ticked most of them “Now”, so maybe it wasn’t such a wonderful time after all – or was it?


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New Year

“Well,” as my Mum used to say on 2nd January each year, “it’s all over for another year”

I’ve never given much thought to her remark until this morning, when I realised I’d been saying the same thing myself for years!!!

It’s odd, don’t you think, that from September onwards every year Christmas and New Year are everywhere: in the shops, on the radio and T.V., in the newspapers. If some cataclysmic event happens somewhere in the world we tend to say, “What a shame it’s happened at Christmas”, but the tragic event would be just as dreadful were it to happen on 12th June, or 31st October.

Christmas, as most of us know, is a celebration of the birth of Jesus, albeit probably not on the precise date. But do we put as much effort into celebrating that wonderful event as we do with the shopping and gift wrapping that means Christmas to so many?

When I was a child I rarely went to church. I remember attending Sunday School but (dare I say) only to collect the picture stickers that would eventually add up to receiving a book, the value of which would reflect how many stickers I’d collected over the year. What’s more I would be eligible to go on the Sunday School outing, the details of which I have no recollection – it must have been somewhat low-key, I fear!

I can’t remember, either, whether or not we had a Nativity Play, but I’m sure there would have been one. I don’t recall ever taking part.

So from this you can see that the religious side of Christmas meant very little to me.

We always had presents and extra food, Santa always came and left us a pillow-case with fruit and sweets in. I know for sure he came because Dad always left him a mince pie and a glass of beer. Next morning they had gone but Santa had left us a note saying, “Thank you” – and Rudolf thanked us for the carrot – magical times!!

New Year was celebrated with a party for Mum and Dad’s friends and we had to go to bed as usual at 7 o’clock. However, at 11.45 Dad would come and wake us up to see the New Year in with them. We’d all stand round the radio waiting for Big Ben to strike twelve and on the final “bong” everyone would cheer and toast the New Year. We kids had to be satisfied with a glass of lemonade, then, back to bed we’d go. I wasn’t sure what it was all about but everyone else seemed to know what was going on!!

Almost Midnight

This year, my husband and I were in bed by 10 p.m. and were undisturbed all night. If there were any fireworks we didn’t hear them – it all passed us by. Perhaps I’m getting too old for strenuous celebrations.

So, may I wish you all a very happy New Year and may 2014 bring you all you desire.

Happy New Year 2014


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Winter 1947

It’s January 1947 and I’m 4½ years old. During the winter of 1946–47 the UK experienced several cold spells, beginning on 21 January 1947, bringing the severest snowfalls for 150 years to the country. Roads were closed and railways became blocked. Coal supplies, already low following the Second World War, struggled to get through to power stations and many were forced to shut down due to lack of fuel. The government introduced several measures to cut power consumption, including restricting domestic electricity to 19 hours per day and cutting industrial supplies completely. Radio broadcasts were limited, and some magazines were ordered to stop being published; newspapers were cut in size. Public morale was very low due to these measures and the Minister of Fuel and Power received death threats and had to be placed under police guard. Towards the end of February there were also fears of a food shortage as supplies were cut off and vegetables frozen into the ground.

Imagine frost on the inside of the bedroom windows! We had no central heating, just one coal fire in the front room. At night Mum would find as many blankets as she could, after which it was coats to keep us warm. The bedroom floor was covered in linoleum, not carpet, so our feet felt as if they would stick to the cold floor when we walked. I recall going with Mum to the coal merchant and pretending that I was someone else’s little girl so that Mum could get an extra bag of fuel. So two bags of coal were loaded into the baby’s pram (he wasn’t in it at the time!)

It was grim! It has gone down in history as one of the severest winters in living memory. However, as I was such a small child it hardly seemed to affect me. I don’t remember going without food, but it must have been very hard for my parents.


One thing I do remember with vivid clarity was the time I was stuck in a snow drift up to my armpits. Now, you might think that’s hilariously funny (I do, now!) but for a 4½ year old it was terrifying. I’d been sent out to play so that Mum could “get on with things” (probably connected to my seven-month old brother). So, off I went on my adventure. I have no idea what I was thinking about but I can remember a sudden “sinking” feeling. Apparently I’d stepped where there was a snow-covered ditch and down I went. When I think now of what might have happened I am horrified but I must have shouted or cried so loudly that someone came along and pulled me out.

I’m not sure to this day whether I received loving cuddles or not when I arrived home soaking wet, frozen cold and a very unhappy bunny.

I love reminiscing about my childhood as it makes me reaslie just how fortunate we are these days.

We’ve been warned that this winter may well be as bad as 1947, but, even if that transpires to be true, we will have a better time of it than we did 67 years ago.

How our lives have changed since then. And most of us, including myself, take so much of it for granted. Heating, lighting, carpets, well-stocked shops and supermarkets. We really have it all.

So, please, if you’re reading this and you are living where there is plenty, spare a thought for those people, even in Europe and America, who have little or nothing to look forward to this Christmas because of poverty.

And thank God for what you have!!


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My Life in the 1940s – 1950s

Growing up, as I did, in the industrial Midlands of England in the 1940s/1950s, we were surrounded by the filth of chimneys, belching out all manner of foul emissions. This often caused terrible smog, bringing cars and buses to a standstill as it was impossible to see further than a hand in front of you. Domestic fires added to this through the coal and coke that was burnt.

This atmosphere, of course, was the cause of many health problems for lots of families. I suffered terribly from bronchitis for most of the year and had to wear something called “Thermogene“. This came in a roll of pink material like cotton wool, which was pinned inside Liberty Bodices and vests, to keep my chest warm and help banish winter ailments. Research on the actual ingredients of the material have proved fruitless, but whatever it was, it worked!

We also had to have daily doses of Cod Liver Oil, provided free by the Health Department, as well as orange juice. The cod liver oil was ghastly and almost made me choke, but if I managed to keep it down I was rewarded with the orange juice!

Another therapy I had to undergo was sun ray treatment, which took place in a large room in a local clinic. In the centre of the room was a huge lamp and we had to stand facing the lamp, wearing just our knickers and a pair of goggles, for about fifteen minutes. I remember feeling very warm. This course of treatment lasted for no more than four sessions. At least it was one way of getting time off from school!!

It’s also a well-known fact that children in the 1950s were often under-nourished due to food shortages, rationing or just hardship. We always seemed to have plenty to eat and I looked forward to our Sunday roast. Having bought all the necessary ingredients the previous day whilst out shopping, Mum would set about roasting the beef joint in her tiny gas oven.

When it was finished she would drain off the juices and leave it to set; this made the most delicious dripping which we would spread on toast. (Oh, my mouth is watering at the very thought!!)

On the top of the cooker she had three gas jets and these would be used for the various saucepans of vegetables. I found a picture of one almost identical, except that this picture is of a doll’s cooker!!. At least it will give an idea of the kind of equipment housewives had at their disposal in the 1940s.

So, to continue – we always had a sweet (or pudding as we called it) and my favourite was bananas and custard. During the war bananas were unavailable and so, when they were finally to be had again, they were something new to us. It was a special treat to have a banana. How we take things for granted these days, with such wonderful fruits from all over the world available in the supermarkets all year round.

Sunday tea usually comprised fish paste sandwiches, a fruit cake or ring of buns and a dish of peaches in syrup. We weren’t allowed to have the fruit until we’d eaten at least one half slice of bread and butter. This was probably to make it go further, as one tin of peaches would have to suffice for the whole family of five.

Incidentally, Monday’s evening meal consisted of minced meat left over (or put aside specially) from the Sunday joint, made into a shepherd’s pie. Pastry left from making that would be used to make an apple pie for pudding, probably lasting two days at least. (No fridges then, either!!). Very little food was wasted in those days!!

But, throughout all those days of hardship and shortages, I know that my parents did their best for us kids, no matter what. We always had warm clothes and even treats of comics (albeit second-hand ones from the market) and oftentimes Mum would pass her dish over to one of us saying that she’d had enough to eat. We never realised that probably there wasn’t enough to go round, so Mum or Dad would forego their own food for us.

These days, 63 years on, I live in a comfortable, warm home and to do my weekly shopping I just jump into the car and drive (less than a mile!) into Asda’s car park. I haven’t yet succumbed to home deliveries though!!

In the 1950s shops were certainly not open as long then as they are now. Opening times were usually 9 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. five days a week and on one of those five days all the shops in the town closed for half a day. There were no businesses open on Sundays back then. I often wonder what my Dad would think of my life these days compared to what he knew just before he died in 1972. So much has changed in the past 41 years.

Sometimes I think it’s moving too quickly. One day a new gadget appears on the shelves and within days it’s superseded by something bigger or better. When I was young a tablet was something you took when you were ill, an eye pad was something you put over an injured eye and a mobile was something that was suspended over a baby’s cot. Times have certainly changed since then, but much as I remember being very happy when I was young, I certainly wouldn’t wish to go back and live like that again. I like my comforts too much!!

And yet, you know, whatever happens in our lives, whether it be good or bad, is part of God’s plan for us. If we choose to follow Jesus and give our lives to Him, then we shall understand why all these things happen to us. Sometimes we might think of going somewhere or doing something but for some reason it just doesn’t happen. That’s God working in our lives, probably because what we wanted to do wouldn’t be good for us.

Jeremiah chapter 29 verse 11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Romans chapter 8 verse 28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”


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No Signal!

Returning from a holiday recently, I switched on the PC in order to catch up with our email messages that would have come in whilst we were away. Imagine my surprise when I tried to connect to the internet and the screen remained blank – nothing – no signal! It was as if I’d suddenly lost some important faculty – sight, feeling, mobility. For a few seconds I was completely stumped. “What’s happened,” I thought.

We set to and began checking all the connections, plugs, sockets – even the mains switch. But they were all securely plugged in or switched on. Then we looked at the hub. It was blank – dead! Whilst there should have been a series of four blue lights, each one telling us that a particular function was operating, there was, in fact, nothing! Now what? (And we hadn’t even unpacked the suitcases!!).

We tried to get online (just in case the hub was fibbing!), but all we got was a huge exclamation mark and a message telling us that it was not possible for us to be connected. I wanted to shout at the screen, “We know that already!” However, all was not lost as also in the screen was another message taking us step-by-step through an elimination process to discover the problem.

Eventually it transpired that there was a break in the connection between our house and the phone company’s box 50 metres away. The final message read: “Please contact your telephone company………” “We haven’t got a phone that works”, I shouted at the screen. But, of course, I do have a mobile phone, albeit a very ancient model, and this proved to be our final hope.

It took two days and three phone calls on my mobile (in an area that receives practically no signal at all), but we got it sorted and it was great to be back in touch with the world once more.

Hoorah!

And, once again, this set me thinking about how much we take things for granted.

Just stop for a moment and imagine living in a place where there is no electricity, running water or sanitation? There are no shops in this place (no, not even an Asda!). There are no roads to get from one place to another. And yet, there really are places like this in our world today. It’s hard for us to imagine if we’ve never been there, because we are surrounded by all these things. I’ve often wondered how people living in such places manage without all the mod cons that we take for granted, but they do because they’ve never had them.

I was born at a time when none of the modern household gadgets was available to us. We had no phone, no car, no washing machine, no fridge or freezer. In my early life we had no T.V. and, of course, no computers. The list of the things we didn’t have is endless, and yet, ask anyone who is my age what it was like, and they will probably say the same as me – “we got along O.K. without them”.

But there is one thing that I didn’t know about when I was little and that was just how much God loves me. Yes, I went to Sunday School and yes, I heard about Jesus but since I gave Him my life thirty years ago, I now know Him as my Lord and Saviour. Jesus died for me and He died for you, also.

In our mid-week Communion meeting at Church this week, our Pastor read the account of Jesus’ Last Supper, arrest and crucifixion. He didn’t just read it – he made us be there. We stood beside Jesus as He was mocked, beaten, whipped and insulted. We walked with Him up the hill to the place where He was crucified and we stood at the foot of the Cross and looked up at Him. It was so very moving and made me realise just what He went through for each and every one of us. Throughout it all He never once spoke ill of His accusers. He knew that that is what He’d come for – to take all our guilt and shame and to die for us.

Your guilt and shame is nailed to that Cross. Jesus did it for you.

May I suggest you read the following verses from Matthew’s Gospel?:

Chapter 26 verses 17-29; then verses 36-46;
Chapter 27 verses 27-50

It’s a lot to read I grant you, but it may be the best read you’ll ever have!


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Use Your Imagination

I was watching a T.V. programme recently about Australian Art. With all due respect I thought that this title was an oxymoron, but I was pleasantly surprised to see some really beautiful works of art by Australian artists from years ago. More modern stuff exhibited was, in my humble opinion, rubbish!! As I was muttering to myself about the exorbitant prices charged for paintings that an eight-year-old could do, I was reminded of my art lessons in school.

If you’ve been following my Blogs you will already know that I was not good at much at school and included in the list was art. I had no interest whatsoever; therefore, I made no effort – until one day when I had no option!

We arrived in the art room to find a large piece of drawing paper on each desk. We took our places and the art mistress came into the room. “Good morning, girls”, she said in an unusually bright and bouncy voice.

“Uh, uh, “, I thought, “what now?”

Another Masterpiece completed!

“This morning I want you all to use your imagination.” she said. “You can paint anything you like but it must be your own work and entirely original. I will give you no ideas, suggestions or assistance on what to do – in fact, I’m having the morning off!” And with that, she left the room. We sat for a while in stunned silence and then gradually, as we decided something had to be done, we set to work. That is, all except me! I had absolutely no idea at all what to do. I just sat there looking at this great expanse of paper waiting for me to fill it with some wonderful creation. “What can I do”, I thought.

Perhaps not! How about this one?

No, perhaps a bit too much like Van Gogh!

But, in the end, I knew I had to get something done, so I decided to do a beach scene, but my way. I divided the paper into three horizontal sections for the sky, sea and sand and set about daubing paint all over it. For the sea I used purple, then I made an orange, green and yellow sky and finally I added a bit of wish-washy brown for the sand. That was it! I had spent all my energy and imagination – it was all I could offer. It only took about fifteen minutes to do!

Imagine my surprise when I received a “Well done” from the art mistress the next time I saw her. “You really must have put a lot of thought into that painting.” she remarked. (I have never managed to work out whether she was being sarcastic or genuinely magnanimous !)

I had been given a blank canvas on which to create something which someone (apparently) thought was good.

So now it’s your turn. Close your eyes and imagine complete darkness – nothing. Absolutely nothing and nothing to go by. No-one to tell you what to put where, which colour to use, what compliments another thing. The blackness is everywhere and you are in charge of making something from nothing. You have to create the earth.

We can all imagine what we would do, because everything is already there, so we have images in our mind’s eye. But imagine how God created the heavens and the earth from nothing. Absolutely nothing.

The Bible tells us that God created all that in six days. Six Days!!.

Have you ever wondered how the planets, stars, sun and moon all spin in space without falling? How is the earth suspended? How was water made? I know that scientists give glib answers, but for me there is only one answer. God made all this Himself, without any help, plans or drawings. Don’t you think that’s just awesome?

How sad it is to think how much we are harming His beautiful Creation with our selfish ways. It won’t always be here, because when Jesus comes back it will all end. It is all vividly told in the last book of the Bible – Revelation. If you haven’t ever given much thought to the End of the World I urge you to read Revelation. There are modern translations of the Bible, so no-one can say that it’s all in archaic language.

Don’t get left behind on that Day. There won’t be a second chance.